How To Get To Iraklia Greece By Ferry

Iraklia is a small Greek island in the Cyclades, where time seems to have stopped. Here is how to get to Iraklia island in Greece.

How to get to Iraklia island in the Cyclades Greece

Iraklia is one of the Cyclades islands in Greece, located close to the more famous Naxos. Iraklia, along with Schinoussa, Koufonissi and Donoussa, are known as the Small Cyclades. 

Like the name suggests, Iraklia and the other Small Cyclades islands are small and relatively unknown. They don’t attract as many visitors as many of the better known destinations, like Paros or Milos

How to get to Iraklia island

I’m Vanessa from Athens, and I’ve been travelling around my country since I was a kid. I love small, off-the-beaten-track islands, of which thankfully Greece has so many. I first went to Iraklia in August 2010, and returned in July 2017 and June 2024.

During all these years, Iraklia has not developed massively. It is still fairly quiet, and largely untouched by the mass tourism that has irreversibly changed some other Greek islands, like Mykonos or Santorini.

Iraklia island offers amazing views

Depending on who you ask, you will find out that around 80-150 people live in Iraklia year-round, and most of them live in the small port town of Agios Georgios. All in all, it’s a quiet little gem of an island, and is an ideal place to relax, unwind and get away from it all.

Getting to Iraklia is pretty straightforward, though it can be time consuming. Here’s how to get to Iraklia from Piraeus port in Athens, and other Cyclades islands.

How to get to Iraklia from Piraeus port in Athens

There are three direct ferry routes per week from Piraeus port in Athens to Iraklia. The route is served by Blue Star Naxos, one of the Blue Star Ferries. 

On its way to Iraklia, the ferry first stops at other islands, like Syros, Paros and Naxos. Afterwards, it continues to Schinoussa, Koufonisia and Amorgos.

Depending on the season, the trip from Piraeus to Iraklia takes about 7 – 8 hours.

You can check ferry routes and book your tickets on Ferryscanner or Ferryhopper.

How to get to Iraklia island from Piraeus

Blue Star ferry tickets to Iraklia

There are several categories of tickets on the Piraeus – Iraklia ferry.

The cheapest option is a deck ticket at either 42 or 51.50 euro, depending on the season. Occasionally, it is possible to get non-changeable, non-refundable deck tickets at a lower price, but you’d have to book them several months in advance.

Blue Star Naxos - The deck

For a few euros more, you can get a numbered seat. This means that you have a dedicated seat for you, unlike the deck category, where you can sit on the deck and the common areas of the ferry.

When we are travelling during peak season, July and August, we prefer to get numbered seats, so we know that we have our own seats. 

It’s also possible to get a business lounge seat, or a cabin, both of which are more expensive. In summer, the return trip from Iraklia to Piraeus is overnight, so some people would find a cabin useful.

You can check ferry routes and book your tickets on Ferryscanner or Ferryhopper. After you book, you will receive a confirmation in your email.

Two days before you travel, you will need to check in for your trip, just like you would for a flight. You will then receive an electronic ticket in your email, with which you can travel – no need to print tickets anymore. 

What is the Blue Star Naxos like?

The Blue Star Naxos is a large ferry with many indoor and outdoor common areas. There is plenty of seating space, both inside the ferry and on the deck. Still, the ferry can get pretty full in high season.

You will find snack bars and cafes to buy drinks and snacks, and also restaurants, in case you want a full meal. There is also a small shop for any last-minute items, such as sunglasses, electronics, clothes and books.

Blue Star Naxos - Ferry in Greece

The Blue Star Naxos is a big ferry, but it serves many popular destinations. Overall, it’s best to get your tickets in advance, especially if you are travelling during the summer.

There is only has a limited number of cabins, and they can get sold out many months in advance, even if you are travelling in the shoulder season. So, if you need a cabin, make sure you book it in good time.

Tip: You can bring as much luggage as you want on the ferry, but you’ll have to carry it yourself up and down the various stairs. My suggestion is to pack light, and bring any valuables in a small bag that you’ll keep with you at all times.

If you have any heavier luggage you can leave it in the designated area that you’ll see as soon as you board the ferry. 

How to get to Iraklia from other Cyclades islands

If you prefer to avoid the 7-hour long journey from Piraeus, you can consider flying into Naxos, which has an airport. You can then take an onward ferry to Iraklia.

There are two ferries connecting Naxos to Iraklia: The Blue Star Ferry which was mentioned above, and a much smaller ferry called Express Skopelitis.

This legendary boat belongs to a family company, Skopelitis Lines. It has been connecting Naxos, Amorgos and the rest of the Small Cyclades since the 1950s. 

Don’t worry though – the ferry is being replaced now and then. It’s just the name that stays the same!

Skopelitis boat in Iraklia port

What is the Express Skopelitis like?

The “Express Skopelitis” ferry is a small local ferry that provides an invaluable service to the Small Cyclades islands. It runs year-round, and transports people and goods from Naxos to the small, remote islands.

In fact, the Skopelitis won the Lloyd’s “Best Passenger Line of the Year” Award in 2013. 

Unlike its name suggests, it’s not the fastest ferry in the Aegean. Travelling on it is an experience, but unfortunately when it’s windy the ride can get very bumpy. If you get seasick easily, it’s best to take some dramamine or ginger tablets before you board. 

The Skopelitis runs on a daily basis, serving different islands every other day. You can check routes, and book your tickets, on Ferryscanner or Ferryhopper.

So, if you are coming from abroad, you can take an onward flight to Naxos from Athens, and then hop on either the Blue Star or the Skopelitis ferry. 

Other islands that have frequent direct connections to Iraklia include Paros, Schinoussa, Koufonissia, Donoussa and Amorgos. 

Sailing trips to Iraklia

If you are pushed for time, you can always visit Iraklia and Schinoussa on a day trip from Naxos, or take a sailing trip around Koufonisi and Iraklia.

Alternatively, you can even hire a local boat if you ask around at the small Iraklia port.

Dimitris, the captain of Anemos boat, organizes day trips around Iraklia, taking you to the more remote beaches. If you don’t see him at the port, ask around at the small mini market in Agios Georgios.

What is there to do in Iraklia?

If all you want to do during your Greek vacation is to swim, hike and eat, Iraklia has you covered. Otherwise, you might get bored after a couple of days. There are very few things “to do” in Iraklia. 

All in all, what brings most visitors to Iraklia is its remoteness, the wild nature, the rugged beaches and the lovely hiking paths. There isn’t much in the way of nightlife and shopping here. 

How to get to Iraklia - Take a boat trip

Hiking around Iraklia Greece is pretty fantastic. In fact, Iraklia is pretty unique because of the Cave of St John. 

This massive cave has not been commercially exploited, but you can visit it nevertheless if you are happy to hike. The entrance is a little tricky to find and you’ll have to crawl to go in! 

If you decide to try this hike, make sure you have good walking shoes, a hat, sunglasses, plenty of water and a strong torch. Here is our experience hiking to St John’s Cave in Iraklia.

Iraklia island Greece

Apart from the cave of Saint John, there are other places you can hike to in Iraklia, like the abandoned village of Agios Athanassios or the cliffs of Merichas.

The views from Papas, the highest point of the island, are unbelievable. I’ve been to 60-65 Greek islands and these are definitely among my favourite views! 

Beaches in Iraklia

The most beautiful beach in Iraklia is Livadi, a 20 minute walk from Agios Georgios, the port town. It’s one of my favourite wild beaches in Greece.

As it’s facing north, Livadi can get quite wavy during the meltemi season. You can then swim at the port beach of Agios Georgios, or even head to Tourkopigado, which isn’t so special but is usually sheltered from the winds.

Other beaches in Iraklia, like Alimia and Karvounolakkos, are only accessible by boat. In summer, Anemos boat takes you to those beaches daily, wind permitting.

Livadi beach Iraklia

And how about food? Well – you’ll be surprised at how amazingly tasty the food is in Iraklia. Considering that they have to bring most of the products in from Naxos and other islands, it’s a miracle.

We loved Akathi and Ypovryhio in Agios Georgios town and Drosia, up on the village of Panagia. We have not tried Araklia yet, but it will be there for next time we visit!

Where to stay in Iraklia

Most of the hotels in Iraklia are located in or very close to Agios Georgios port town.

The town is very small, so it wouldn’t take you more than 5-10 minutes to get to your hotel if you walked from the port. Still, you probably won’t have to walk with your luggage, as all the hotels in Iraklia will offer a free pickup service.

Meltemi Retreat and Villa Panorama are up on a hill, a short walk from Agios Georgios, and enjoy incredible views over the Aegean Sea. But anywhere you stay in the port town is fine.

If you want the ultimate seclusion, you can try Villa Zografos, or even Martin Rooms, on Livadi beach.

How to get to Iraklia Greece

I hope this article was helpful. If you have any more questions about Iraklia, please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.

You might also be interested in these other travel guides:

Vanessa from Real Greek Experiences

Hi! I’m Vanessa from Athens and I’ve been to about 60 or 65 of the Greek islands. Iraklia has a very special place in my heart! Follow me on my social media: 




How to get to Iraklia Greece

Leave a Comment